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Old 01-21-2014, 01:30 PM   #1
murgatroyd
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Help me choose a new old TiVo

The Olympics are coming up, so it's time to think about buying another TiVo.

I'm on Comcast with all-digital cable (Motorola head-end). We have slowish-DSL. I have one TiVoHD. Our TV is SD, so we wouldn't be using the HDUI.

Budget (not counting service) is $150.00.

What I need: basic TiVo functionality. I don't do Netflix or Hulu; I don't have a smartphone; I don't need a multi-room solution. I just want more tuners, and the basic record-watch- delete or archive TiVo stuff. I do archive, especially for the Olympics (using kmttg/VideoReDo TVSuite).

So here's what I'm looking at:
  1. The Premiere ($49.99)
  2. The Premiere 4 ($124.99, or $99 for the refurb)
  3. The Premiere 4 XL refurb ($149.99)
  4. (the wildcard) Humax DRT400 from Weaknees ($149.00)
  5. used TiVoHD off eBay?
  6. Romio Basic?

Obvious advantages are:
  • For the two-tuner Premiere: it's cheap.
  • For the P4 -- more tuners, and if we retired the HD, we'd only have one monthly service charge instead of 2.
  • For the P4XL -- the same, with more space on the drive.

However, if the performance is flaky and I miss the recordings I want, none of the other specs really matter.

Obvious disadvantages:
  • Any functions that are only available on the HDUI are off-limits
  • Premieres are older technology, thus not as future-proofed as buying a new Roamio
  • Refurbs are refurbed for a reason - do I want to buy someone else's problem?

So: which one do I want? Or should I scrape the couch cushions for the extra $50 and buy a new Romio instead?

Which TiVo is best at doing basic TiVo stuff, and is the least likely to flake out on me?

Edited to add: I need 2 more tuners, to make about 100 hours of recordings. With the Romio deals bringing the base Romio into my budget, it's looking like the best candidate, but I'd still appreciate any tips or things to watch out for. Thanks!
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Old 01-21-2014, 01:39 PM   #2
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At $150 on Amazon, I'd buy the base Roamio over any Premiere every day of the week, even with just an SD TV. It's much more enjoyable to use. Less storage space than an XL4, but I will keep the hair on my head a little longer.

If you prefer, Best Buy will price match the $150 and you might also get a $50 gift card with it to boot.
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Old 01-21-2014, 02:09 PM   #3
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At $150 on Amazon, I'd buy the base Roamio over any Premiere every day of the week, even with just an SD TV. It's much more enjoyable to use. Less storage space than an XL4, but I will keep the hair on my head a little longer.

If you prefer, Best Buy will price match the $150 and you might also get a $50 gift card with it to boot.
I'm pretty sure the base Roamio is HDMI only, which could be a problem with an SDTV. Other than that potential pitfall, I'd agree that getting the Roamio would make the most sense.
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Old 01-21-2014, 03:54 PM   #4
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I'm pretty sure the base Roamio is HDMI only, which could be a problem with an SDTV. Other than that potential pitfall, I'd agree that getting the Roamio would make the most sense.
It has a port for a breakout cable for composite audio/video. (i.e. red/white/yellow) You can get a cable that works on ebay for $5...

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Western-Digi...-/370675838597
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Old 01-21-2014, 04:25 PM   #5
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It has a port for a breakout cable for composite audio/video. (i.e. red/white/yellow) You can get a cable that works on ebay for $5...

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Western-Digi...-/370675838597
Or you can just buy an adapter for $1.99 on Amazon.

http://www.amazon.com/HDE-Female-Com...ref=pd_sim_e_1
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Old 01-21-2014, 05:04 PM   #6
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Ah, didn't know that. That would be enough to push me toward the $150 Roamio.
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Old 01-21-2014, 05:16 PM   #7
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PM the Amazon $149 Roamio at BestBuy and get $50 Best Buy gift card. If there's nothing else you need at BestBuy, buy a $50 Kindle gift card and spend the funds anywhere on Amazon. Effectively a $100 base Roamio.
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Old 01-21-2014, 05:43 PM   #8
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Ah, didn't know that. That would be enough to push me toward the $150 Roamio.
The Roamio is definitely the way to go.
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Old 01-21-2014, 08:51 PM   #9
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Or you can just buy an adapter for $1.99 on Amazon.

http://www.amazon.com/HDE-Female-Com...ref=pd_sim_e_1
Are you sure that works? The TiVo has a specific pin configuration. The one I linked to is something I actually own and I know works. If you're sure that one works then it's a better deal.
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Old 01-21-2014, 09:12 PM   #10
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Are you sure that works? The TiVo has a specific pin configuration. The one I linked to is something I actually own and I know works. If you're sure that one works then it's a better deal.
I have not actually tried it with the TiVo, no. But I did buy this adapter to use with a Samsung TV that uses the same type of combined input for composite audio and video. I think the 3.5mm jack is fairly standard for this type of application so it SHOULD work, but as I have not tried it with a TiVo myself I can't guarantee that it will.
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Old 01-21-2014, 09:28 PM   #11
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I would get the 4-tuner base Roamio. If you are concerned that its 500 GB drive is too small, then get a 3 TB hard drive and swap it in before powering it up for the first time. Swapping in a new hard drive before you use it means you won't lose any shows. Putting a 3 TB drive in it means you have space to transfer your old shows from your series 3 HD, then retire the HD to save the monthly fee, plus get some money back by selling the HD.

NOTE: Roamios require a network connection. They have no phone line connection. Also, the default Roamio remote control setup is to work via RF, but can be switched to IR mode to work like older TiVos do.
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Old 01-21-2014, 10:07 PM   #12
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I think you can still turn off the HDUI on the Premiere 4, so I'd vote for that. (I only skimmed, others seemed to ignore the part about not using HD UI.. Yes, it gets VERY cranky if the internet connection is slow/flaky.)

I actually have a lifetime Premiere 4 that I intend to eventually sell now that I have a Roamio.. Make me an offer..

Even if you don't buy mine, *for your unique situation*, I'd recommend the P4. Otherwise, I'd recommend a 6 tuner Roamio.
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Old 01-21-2014, 10:38 PM   #13
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I have not actually tried it with the TiVo, no. But I did buy this adapter to use with a Samsung TV that uses the same type of combined input for composite audio and video. I think the 3.5mm jack is fairly standard for this type of application so it SHOULD work, but as I have not tried it with a TiVo myself I can't guarantee that it will.
Apparently Apple innovated the idea of not putting ground where everybody else had been putting it for the past half century or longer, so now you can't just look at a tip-ring1-ring2-sleeve plug and be sure of the pinout anymore.
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Old 01-21-2014, 10:57 PM   #14
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So -- all the weird reboot issues and other things that plagued the four-tuner Premieres when they first came out have been resolved? The cablecard weirdness is only with the Cisco headends? How likely will it be that the Olympic recordings will be copy-protected?

I suppose one cheap but ugly option might be to get something from Comcast, and switch all my watch-and-dump recordings to it, freeing up the TiVoHD for the Olympics. Then take the Comcast box back after the Olympics are over.

Edited to add: And now I've visited TiVo.com enough in the past week that I'm seeing a banner ad for a special Romio upgrade offer.

P.S. to Dan203: I own a WD TV Live, so I probably have that cable already.

Thanks to everybody for reminding me to check the connections, though.
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Old 01-22-2014, 04:06 AM   #15
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Comcast usually only copy protects the Premium channels like HBO.
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Old 01-22-2014, 04:41 AM   #16
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I know I'm mostly repeating others here, but if you go with the Roamio:

-Greatly improved speed/responsiveness of the interface, launching apps, etc
-future-proofing yourself, as eventually the Premiers are going to stop getting features that are on the newer units.
-Roamio has drop-in drive upgrades. Premiers require work to prep drives.
-RF-based remote, built-in wifi -gravy
-Retain the option to cable-cut (not that you mentioned this as a parameter)
-Ability to host a Mini down the road (4-tuner Premiers can also support em of course)

If you get the deal at Bestbuy, (Price-match to Amazon for $150+ $50 gift card) you can use the $50 gift card towards a bigger drive. (Swap the bestbuy gift card for a Kindle card and use it towards a drive from Amazon up to 3gb)
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Old 01-22-2014, 06:42 AM   #17
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If 2 tuners is enough and given your basic requirements, I'd vote for a used TiVo HD from eBay with lifetime for $200-$250.

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Old 01-22-2014, 08:53 AM   #18
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Does your old box have lifetime? You may want to look through the $99 lifetime threads to see if you can get a Roamio and a deal that would let you sell the older box at a premium to off-set the costs of a new tivo.

Your paranoia over performance is just that. Read through any forum for a product and you see the stories of things go wrong, not the silent majority without issues who never visit the site and just enjoy the product.
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Old 01-22-2014, 12:42 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by lgnad View Post
I know I'm mostly repeating others here, but if you go with the Roamio:

-Greatly improved speed/responsiveness of the interface, launching apps, etc
-future-proofing yourself, as eventually the Premiers are going to stop getting features that are on the newer units.
-Roamio has drop-in drive upgrades. Premiers require work to prep drives.
-RF-based remote, built-in wifi -gravy
-Retain the option to cable-cut (not that you mentioned this as a parameter)
-Ability to host a Mini down the road (4-tuner Premiers can also support em of course)

If you get the deal at Bestbuy, (Price-match to Amazon for $150+ $50 gift card) you can use the $50 gift card towards a bigger drive. (Swap the bestbuy gift card for a Kindle card and use it towards a drive from Amazon up to 3gb)
There's also the promo code which went out to TiVo Advisory Panel members; that showed up in my email today.

And I didn't mention it before, but yes, retaining the option to cable-cut is a plus.

Quote:
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Does your old box have lifetime? You may want to look through the $99 lifetime threads to see if you can get a Roamio and a deal that would let you sell the older box at a premium to off-set the costs of a new tivo.

Your paranoia over performance is just that. Read through any forum for a product and you see the stories of things go wrong, not the silent majority without issues who never visit the site and just enjoy the product.
No, the HD is on month-to-month. I have lifetime on one of my older boxes.

And I'm well aware that the people who have a problem make the most noise, so the problems seem worse than they actually are. That's why I started the thread, to get feedback from everyone else whose stuff works.
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Old 01-22-2014, 12:59 PM   #20
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Just to toss in some options, have you considered getting a SiliconDust HD HomeRun device and just using it? No fees with same other than the cablecard fees. It would involve using your computers to do your additional TV watching on, but it would let you work with tablets, laptops, desktops and other devices to do your TV watching with on additional screens.
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Old 01-22-2014, 01:43 PM   #21
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Just to toss in some options, have you considered getting a SiliconDust HD HomeRun device and just using it? No fees with same other than the cablecard fees. It would involve using your computers to do your additional TV watching on, but it would let you work with tablets, laptops, desktops and other devices to do your TV watching with on additional screens.
Well, here's the problem. NBCSN is apparently planning to run the entire figure skating competition. I can't find any schedule yet that will let me estimate how many hours that is likely to be, and I haven't had time to pull out my schedules from Worlds to make a back-of-envelope calculation.

I don't have Windows Media Center or MythTV or anything installed already, nor do I have the hard drive space it would take to store recordings. If I were only watching, this would be really cool, but I was planning to watch-and-archive.

But the HD Homerun does look like a fun thing to have, and I'll keep it in mind for next Christmas. Thanks.

Edited to add: I just found the detailed schedule for the Olympic broadcasts. It looks like the live coverage of the figure skating on MSNBC will be a little over 42 hours (not counting padding for live events). There's also some stuff I need to grab on NBC itself. If you roll in all of the NBC primetime coverage, the Opening/Closing ceremonies, and the figure skating recap shows, it's around 100 hours.
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Old 01-22-2014, 01:51 PM   #22
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I would get the 4-tuner base Roamio. If you are concerned that its 500 GB drive is too small, then get a 3 TB hard drive and swap it in before powering it up for the first time. Swapping in a new hard drive before you use it means you won't lose any shows.
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-Roamio has drop-in drive upgrades. Premiers require work to prep drives.
-RF-based remote, built-in wifi -gravy
Wait, what?

I have a blank 2TB drive that we haven't installed in my desktop (long story; don't ask).

Assume I got the base Roamio with the 500GB drive. Would I be able to add this to the Roamio, or would it replace the 500GB drive?

If it's easier to upgrade the Roamio, that's a huge plus.

I'll search the forum for upgrade threads, but pointers would be appreciated.
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Old 01-22-2014, 02:23 PM   #23
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You would put the new drive into the box yourself, so one drive only. Plug and play, essentially.

If you go that route, a $99 lifetime offer on your old box would be perfect for you to be able to offset the costs.

Good luck!
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Old 01-22-2014, 02:28 PM   #24
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Wait, what?

I have a blank 2TB drive that we haven't installed in my desktop (long story; don't ask).

Assume I got the base Roamio with the 500GB drive. Would I be able to add this to the Roamio, or would it replace the 500GB drive?

If it's easier to upgrade the Roamio, that's a huge plus.

I'll search the forum for upgrade threads, but pointers would be appreciated.
It is easy to upgrade a base Roamio. Just remove the top cover (single screw in the middle of the back, flex cover slightly to help disengage plastic tabs), unscrew the drive mounting screws, unplug the drive cable, and reverse the steps to install the replacement drive. Connect all cables, including the network cable and power up. The Roamio will automatically setup the drive, including connecting home a couple of times to download software. A max size of a 3 TB drive can be used with this automatic process.

All contents on the replacement drive will be lost.

One tip for the base Roamio: The little rubber feet on the bottom pop off VERY easily in reaction to any sideways force. Immediately after unpacking, put a piece or two of tape on each foot to secure it to the bottom case, and leave this tape on. They are small and easy to lose, and some of them always come off during the drive replacement process.
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Old 01-22-2014, 02:46 PM   #25
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It is easy to upgrade a base Roamio. Just remove the top cover (single screw in the middle of the back, flex cover slightly to help disengage plastic tabs), unscrew the drive mounting screws, unplug the drive cable, and reverse the steps to install the replacement drive. Connect all cables, including the network cable and power up. The Roamio will automatically setup the drive, including connecting home a couple of times to download software. A max size of a 3 TB drive can be used with this automatic process.

All contents on the replacement drive will be lost.

One tip for the base Roamio: The little rubber feet on the bottom pop off VERY easily in reaction to any sideways force. Immediately after unpacking, put a piece or two of tape on each foot to secure it to the bottom case, and leave this tape on. They are small and easy to lose, and some of them always come off during the drive replacement process.
Thanks! Anything I should watch out for when choosing a replacement drive? (I have no idea what the specs are on the blank 2TB that we already have in-house.
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Old 01-22-2014, 02:57 PM   #26
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Thanks! Anything I should watch out for when choosing a replacement drive? (I have no idea what the specs are on the blank 2TB that we already have in-house).
Some drives are very aggressive about power saving, and park the heads far too soon and/or spin down far too soon. This drastically slows down the drives response to the first command after power saving, which can cause the TiVo to timeout and reboot. So check and see if the drive manufacturer offers a utility to turn off this power saving feature. For Western Digital drives, this utility is called WDIDLE3.

I installed WD Green drives in four base Roamios without any subsequent problems, but I used WDIDLE3 on all four drives prior to installation.

After installation, test the TiVo reboot process by selecting Restart within the TiVo menus, plus also test by pulling the plug. Note that the Restart function is in a different location on Roamios. If memory serves, it is located within a help menu (I think).

EDIT: Roamio restart is located at:
TiVo Central => Settings & Messages => Help => Restart or Reset

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Old 01-22-2014, 04:35 PM   #27
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Quick thanks back to the OP (and a your welcome for the discussion/suggestion of considering the HDHomeRun).

Seeing the discussion above about how easily a Roamio is upgraded is very useful for me since I'm considering snagging a Roamio after tax refunds happen (along with some other bonus type income that I have coming).

I've been wanting a Roamio to pair up with some mini's so I can retire a Premiere or two and save on cable card rental fees. Learning (through this thread) that the Roamios are pretty easy to upgrade makes me (potentially) very happy.
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Old 01-22-2014, 05:11 PM   #28
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Learning (through this thread) that the Roamios are pretty easy to upgrade makes me (potentially) very happy.
We've upgraded two TiVos in the past -- both S1s. For the first, we copied the image ourselves; for the second, we did a drop-in replacement from Weaknees.

My DH (dear husband) is not going to be happy if I float the idea of upgrading another TiVo -- keeping the cats out of the way while the upgrade takes place is going to be amusing -- but dropping in an empty drive and having all the software appear on it automagically will be much more palatable than having to order a drive or cloning one ourselves.
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Old 01-22-2014, 05:20 PM   #29
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I think you said you have SD TVs? So do you really need HD TiVos? You can get a SD lifetime TiVo for $40 now or less on eBay or craigslist.

I don't like the high definition TiVos, as they no longer have the option to record at the lowest SD quality. And beings how I only have SD TVs and don't plan to upgrade to HD till I win the lottery. ( I am retired with only SSI income)

Because the newer TiVos record everything in HD it fills up my HD TiVo with shows too quick. My SD TiVos can hold much more shows at the lowest definition, which looks great on my 27" TV!
The big advantage of newer TiVos is more tuners, that I do tend to use a lot.
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Old 01-22-2014, 07:33 PM   #30
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I think you said you have SD TVs? So do you really need HD TiVos? You can get a SD lifetime TiVo for $40 now or less on eBay or craigslist.

I don't like the high definition TiVos, as they no longer have the option to record at the lowest SD quality. And beings how I only have SD TVs and don't plan to upgrade to HD till I win the lottery. ( I am retired with only SSI income)

Because the newer TiVos record everything in HD it fills up my HD TiVo with shows too quick. My SD TiVos can hold much more shows at the lowest definition, which looks great on my 27" TV!
The big advantage of newer TiVos is more tuners, that I do tend to use a lot.
The S3 platform TiVos still offer the option to choose recording quality level, the catch is that it only works on analog cable channels, and I think you have to both have a cable company still supplying them and you have to not have a cable card installed so that they can't substitute the digital versions for them.
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